American Indians in World War I: at home and at war by Thomas A. Britten

By Thomas A. Britten

In the course of global battle I, approximately 10,000 local american citizens both enlisted or have been drafted into the yank Expeditionary strength. 3 comparable questions are tested extensive for the 1st time during this ebook: What have been the battlefield reviews of local americans? How did racial and cultural stereotypes approximately Indians have an effect on their tasks? Did their wartime contributions bring about adjustments in federal Indian coverage or their ordinary of living?Many American Indians individual themselves combating at the Western entrance. And in comparison to black and Mexican American infantrymen, Indians loved close to common admire whilst in uniform. To have fun their patriotism in the course of and after the battle, Indians might even practice numerous conventional ceremonies differently proscribed. either in strive against and of their aid roles at the homefront, together with volunteer contributions by way of Indian ladies, local american citizens was hoping their efforts might bring about a extra lively program of democracy. however the Bureau of Indian Affairs endured to chop overall healthiness and education schemes and to suppress Indian cultures. "This is a chief booklet and an important contribution to twentieth-century Indian history."--Professor Donald L. Parman

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Post commanders, for their part, were reluctant to rescind the Indian soldiers' right to purchase alcohol for fear of setting a double standard and provoking a crisis. Indian soldiers might justifiably express outrage if white soldiers enjoyed canteen privileges after theirs had been revoked. Consequently, humanitarian reformers came to criticize the experiment as corrupting rather than civilizing Indian soldiers and setting a bad example for Native Americans on the reservation. 42 In addition to cultural dissimilarities, racism also contributed to the failure.

3 Private Johnson was only one of thousands of American Indians who served in the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. Unfortunately, Native American contributions have been largely ignored or discarded as too peripheral and insignificant to warrant serious attention. Even military studies of World War I neglect the participation of American Indians. Historians who have written on twentieth-century Native American topics have, instead, concentrated their studies on the long-term impact of the Dawes Act of 1887, the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, or the Indian reform movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

When an Indian soldier failed to obey an order he found himself in the guardhouse, pulling kitchen patrol, or perhaps cleaning out the post stables. 39 There were other culture-based problems. Native Americans were reluctant to adopt military-style haircuts, live in frame dwellings, or undergo routine physical examinations, which some found to be uncomfortable and humiliating. Several Indian soldiers refused to be vaccinated, while others found frequent bathing to be a waste of time. According to William Bruce White, Native American soldiers disliked wearing uniforms because they missed the contact of their leg muscles against the horse.

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